Westboro Leader Fred Phelps Passes: Public Reaction Pours Out
Fred Phelps, creator of the aggressively anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church based in Kansas, died at age 84 of natural causes at 11:15 p.m. on Wednesday night. In life, Phelps was known for his contribution to the world’s unwritten book of Hate Speech Idioms behind such slogans as “God Hates Fags,” “God Hates America,” and “Fags Die, God Laughs.” He drew heavy attention by voicing his opinion that 9/11 was a punishment for homosexuality in America, and for picketing the funerals of soldiers and members of the LGBTQ community. He called the families of dead soldiers “degenerates” in an interview with Huffington Post. “You’re not going to get nowhere with that slop that ‘God loves you.’ That’s a diabolical lie form hell without biblical warrant,” said Phelps back in 2004 to the Patriot News, a hate-based belief he vocalized often as a biblical literalist.
During his life, Phelps was given a hefty amount of media coverage for his public antics and political/religious messages, having been featured in Rolling Stone and the Washington Post, as well as on 20/20 and The Ricki Lake Show, and most other news outlets. It seems only appropriate that his death gain the same attention. So let’s take a look at some of the most notable public responses to the death of Fred Phelps.